MoJO May 2013
compiled by Claire Woolley
This month, our selected articles look at how we use energy in our home, as well as wider international discussions on energy security, political policy, and the responsibility of producers. A little closer to home, one article in European Planning Studies explores the role of individuals in urban governance in Liverpool.
Antipode (Vol. 45, Issue 3, 2013)
“Participation”, white privilege and environmental justice: understanding environmentalism among Hispanics in Toronto
Gibson-Wood, H.; Wakefield, S.
“The environmental justice movement has highlighted not only the unequal distribution of environmental hazards across lines of race and class, but also the white, middle-class nature of some environmentalisms, and broader patterns of marginalization underlying people’s opportunities to participate or not. There is a significant body of work discussing Hispanic environmental justice activism in the US, but not in Canada. This paper draws on interviews with representatives of organizations working on environmental initiatives within the Hispanic population of Toronto, Canada to explore definitions of and approaches to environmentalism(s) and community engagement. Four interrelated “mechanisms of exclusion” are identified in this case study—economic marginalization; (in)accessibility of typical avenues of participation; narrow definitions of “environmentalism” among environmental organizations; and the perceived whiteness of the environmental movement. Taken together, these mechanisms were perceived as limiting factors to environmental activism in Toronto’s Hispanic population. We conclude that the unique context of Toronto’s Hispanic community, including contested definitions of “community” itself, presents both challenges and opportunities for a more inclusive environmentalism, and argue for the value of “recognition” and “environmental racialization” frameworks in understanding environmental injustice in Canada”
Capitalism Nature Socialism (Vol. 24, Issue 1, 2013)
Appropriate technocracies? Green capitalist discourses and post capitalist desires
“With each passing day, the accumulating evidence of our near certain ecosystemic decline becomes harder and harder to ignore. Coupled with a profoundly inertial response to these trends, capitalist societies are proving themselves to be thoroughly incapable of preventing our collective self-annihilation.
All of the earnest, well-intentioned sentiment, all of the scientific alarm, all of the expressed desire*and will*to make the world a better place, amounts to very little, very late. While we may see traces, as Erik Swyngedouw argues, of a post-political condition where apocalypse is endlessly forestalled, presented as something we can still avoid through techno-managerial control, James McCarthy reminds us that for many people on this planet, the apocalypse has already arrived.”
Climatic change (Online preview, May 2013)
If climate action becomes urgent: the importance of response times for various climate strategies
Van Vuuren, D.P.; Stehfest, E.
“Most deliberations on climate policy are based on a mitigation response that assumes a gradually increasing reduction over time. However, situations may occur where a more urgent response is needed. A key question for climate policy in general, but even more in the case a rapid response is needed, is: what are the characteristic response times of the response options, such as rapid mitigation or solar radiation management (SRM)? This paper explores this issue, which has not received a lot of attention yet, by looking into the role of both societal and physical response times. For mitigation, technological and economic inertia clearly limit reduction rates with considerable uncertainty corresponding to political inertia and societies’ ability to organize rapid mitigation action at what costs. The paper looks into a rapid emission reductions of 4–6 % annually. Reduction rates at the top end of this range (up to 6 %) could effectively reduce climate change, but only with a noticeable delay. Temperatures could be above those in the year of policy introduction for more than 70 years, with unknown consequences of overshoot. A strategy based on SRM is shown to have much shorter response times (up to decades), but introduces an important element of risk, such as ocean acidification and the risk of extreme temperature shifts in case action is halted. Above all, the paper highlights the role of response times in designing effective policy strategies implying that a better understanding of these crucial factors is required”
Cities (Vol. 32, Issue 1, 2013)
Triple exposure: regulatory, climatic and political drivers of water management changes in the city of Los Angeles
Hughes, S.; Pincetl, S.; Boone, C.
“The city of Los Angeles has undergone a significant change in its approach to water management and service delivery in the last 30 years. These changes include a shift to local water resource development and more collaborative decision making. Drawing from ideas in the transitions and policy change literatures, we develop an exposure-based framework for explaining major change. We hypothesize that major change in the relationship between cities and the environment is driven by exposure to reinforcing climatic, regulatory and political shifts. Interviews with decision makers, managers, NGOs and academics are used to demonstrate how this triple exposure has led to major change in water management in Los Angeles in the last thirty years. While the changes are significant, there are remaining financial, political and institutional barriers to achieving the city’s goals of greater water independence and collaborative decision making”
Environmental Politics (Vol. 22, Issue 3, 2013)
Climate change ethics, rights and policies: an introduction
Barry, J.; Mol, A.P.J.; Zito, A.R.
“Climate change continues to dominate academic work within green/ environmental politics. Indeed, there appears to be almost an inverse relationship between the lack of political leadership on tackling climate change and the growth in ever more sophisticated academic analyses of this complex and multifaceted problem. There is an increasing disjunction between the growth in our knowledge and understanding of the ethical, political, economic, sociological, cultural, and psychological aspects of climate change and the lack of political achievement in putting in place clear and binding targets, an agreed decarbonisation roadmap, and associated regulatory and policy instruments with enforcement. This gap might be taken as evidence that we do not need more reports on climate change. To quote that most unlikely of green politicians, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California: ‘The debate is over. We know the science. We see the threat. And we know that the time for action is now’
(California Energy Commission 2007, p. 1). This special issue focuses on a variety of ways in which climate change is conceptualised in normative political and ethical theory, and addressed in policy and regulations”
Environment and Planning B (Vol. 40, Issue 2, 2013)
A household tine-use and energy-consumption model with multiple behavioural interactions and zero consumption
Yu, B.; Zhang, J.; Fujiwara, A.
“This study develops a new household resource allocation model, which incorporates multiple interactions (including the interaction between time use and energy consumption, the interactivity interaction, the inter-end-use interaction, and the intrahousehold interaction) based on multilinear utility functions and endogenously represents zero consumption for both time and energy within the group decision-making modeling framework. This may be the first model in literature to jointly accommodate all these behavioral mechanisms in a unified and consistent modeling framework, especially in the context of time use and energy consumption. The model is estimated using data collected in a household survey in Beijing in 2010. Estimation results reveal that: (1) synergic effects are observed with respect to in-home time use and energy consumption, out-of-home time use across varied activities, and in-home energy consumption from different end uses; (2) competitive relationships are detected between in-home time use and out-of-home energy consumption, out-of-home time use and in-home energy consumption, in-home and out-of-home energy consumption, and time use. These not only support the joint representation for time use and energy consumption behavior but also for the energy consumption behavior of in-home end uses and out-of-home vehicles. Additionally, it is found that the intrahousehold interaction does exist.”
Environment and Planning C (Vol. 31, Issue 1, 2013)
Mainstreaming climate policy: the case of climate adaptation and implementation of EU water policy
Brouwer, S.; Rayner, T.; Huitema, D.
“Despite the fact that mainstreaming of climate change into existing EU sectoral policies is a key aim, empirical knowledge of how it works in practice remains scarce. With this paper we explore the degree to which climate considerations are taken into account in the implementation of one of the most influential pieces of European water legislation, the Water Framework Directive and, more importantly, we assess possible explanations for the geographical variability in levels of mainstreaming observed. Our empirical research is based on an analysis of both EU and local policy documents, as well as more than forty in-depth interviews, and shows that, for various reasons, the degree of mainstreaming that has taken place differs widely. We conclude that timely incentives and clear guidance will be necessary to ensure progress is made by all, but that a residual fear that the adaptation agenda is open to abuse by those seeking to rationalise failures to fully implement the Water Framework Directive has put a brake on the mainstreaming agenda”
European Planning Studies (Vol. 21, Issue 4, 2013)
Conceptualising the role of key individuals in urban governance: cases from the economic region of Liverpool, UK
“This paper argues that the role of key individuals in the governance of urban regeneration is often overlooked in empirical studies and theorizations, despite it often being an important causal factor in urban change. The paper provides a “starter” conceptualization of this phenomenon through combining Weber’s [(1947) The Theory of Social and Economic Organization—Translated by A.M. Henderson and Talcott Parsons (London: Collier Macmillan Publishers)] conceptualizations of authority and Kim, Dansereau and Kim’s [(2002) Extending the concept of charismatic leadership: An illustration using Bass’ (1990) categories, in: B. J. Avolio & F. J. Yammarino (Eds) Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead, Vol. 2, pp. 143–172 (Amsterdam: JAI-Elsevier Science)] typologies of leadership. Detailed research into the economic regeneration of Liverpool, UK, between 1978 and 2008 is drawn upon and a series of key individuals highlighted which played important roles in governance and policy outcomes. It is argued that, whilst the action of individual agents should not be isolated from wider structures and institutional settings, it is often necessary to consider their activities more substantially if a deeper understanding of the causalities behind urban and economic change is to be gained”
Global Environmental Change (Vol. 23, Issue 3, 2013)
Understanding attitudes toward energy security: results of a cross-national survey
Knox-Hayes, J.; Brown, M.A.; Sovacool, B.K.; Wang, Y.
“Energy security is embedded in a complex system encompassing factors that constitute the social environment in which individuals are immersed. Everything from education, to access to resources to policy and cultural values of particular places affects perceptions and experiences of energy security. This article examines the types of energy security challenges that nations face and characterizes the policy responses that are often used to address these challenges. Drawing from a survey of energy consumers in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States, we conduct a cross-national comparison of energy security attitudes as well as analyze each country’s energy resources, consumption characteristics and energy policies. Through multivariate regression analysis and case studies we find that socio-demographic and regional characteristics affect attitudes towards energy security. Specifically, we find a strong relationship between level of reliance on oil imports and level of concern for a variety of energy security characteristics including availability, affordability and equity. Our results reaffirm the importance of gender and age in shaping perceptions of security, but also extend existing literature by elucidating the impacts of country energy portfolios and policies in shaping climate and security perceptions. Level of development, reliance on oil, and strong energy efficiency policies all affect individuals’ sense of energy security. In sum, we find that energy security is a highly context-dependent condition that is best understood from a nuanced and multi-dimensional perspective.”
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (Vol. 16, Issue 1, 2013)
Life cycle assessment of carbon capture and storage in power generation and industry in Europe
Volkart, K.; Bauer, C.; Boulet, C.
“To prevent serious negative effects of climate change, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions are required on global level and at large scale. One option is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which aims to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power generation and industry and store it permanently in geologic structures. For a comprehensive comparative assessment of the environmental performance of CCS technologies life cycle assessment (LCA) is required. This study provides a systematic comparison of LCA-based environmental performances of fossil and wood power plants as well as cement production in Europe for 2025 and 2050 with and without CCS. The implementation of CCS leads to life cycle GHG emission reductions of 68–92% for fossil power generation and 39–78% for cement production whilst to negative ones for wood power generation. There are trade-offs with respect to environmental and human health impacts due to direct (e.g. air emissions) and indirect (e.g. coal mining) impacts of the increase in fuel use and additional processes and materials necessary for CCS. Cement plants are suitable point sources for the implementation of CCS. Here the energy supply for the CO2 capture and compression is decisive for the environmental impacts, what indicates benefits of system integration”
Journal of Industrial Ecology (Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2013)
Extended producer responsibility: national, international and practical perspectives
Lifset, R.; Atasu, A.; Tojo, N.
“When extended producer responsibility (EPR) emerged in Sweden and Germany in the early 1990s, it was seen as a policy strategy that could realize several desirable and interrelated goals: creating incentives for eco-design of packages and products, leveraging private sector expertise to achieve public goals, internalizing the costs of waste management into product prices, and shifting the ﬁnancial burden of waste management from municipalities and taxpayers to ﬁrms and consumers. Implicitly it also held the promise of increased funding for recycling infrastructure and a policy mechanism that could be selfadjusting. The research in this issue provides insights into how and why EPR has evolved into its current form and how it might evolve further to achieve the goals its proponents have espoused.”
Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability (Vol. 18, Issue 4, 2013)
Status, stigma and energy practices in the home
“Domestic energy practices are a topical policy issue, with implications for climate change, energy security and fuel poverty. Accordingly, a growing body of literature examines ways of promoting energy conservation and generation by individuals. However, there has been relatively little discussion of how status and stigma are implicated in these practices, and may act as facilitators or barriers to “behaviour change”. To help address this gap, this article draws both on existing literature and a new UK-based study of people who are attempting to live sustainable lives, to provide insights into how domestic energy practices may be status-enhancing or stigmatising, and how these risks and opportunities can be managed. While energy practices are often understood as “inconspicuous”, it is argued here that in some circumstances individuals may actively manage the visibility of their energy practices. The discussion considers these findings with regard to social power relations, and identifies issues warranting further exploration within the emerging research agenda on energy and equity.”
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (Vol. 38, Issue 2, 2013)
Mobile ‘green’ design knowledge: institutions, bricolage and the relational production of embedded sustainable building designs
“Buildings are responsible for on average 43 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, a figure that can rise to 70 per cent in cities. Consequently, ‘green’ building design has been focused on in efforts to reduce environmental degradation and change. It has been suggested, however, that collective learning and the mobilisation of knowledge between spatially dispersed communities are urgently needed, in particular to overcome what are often portrayed as knowledge deficits in relation to green design. The remit of this paper is to outline a framework for analysing the geographically heterogeneous impacts of attempts to mobilise green design knowledges. Drawing on economic geographical analyses of knowledge mobility, the paper reveals how regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutional contexts render green building design knowledges situated and place-specific. But it is also shown that bricolage – the bringing together of multiple mobile knowledges to produce new embedded green design knowledges – can overcome some of the problems faced. In particular, the analysis developed in the paper reveals: first, the role of multiple topological connections to metrically near and far but institutionally proximate places in providing diverse knowledges that can be folded together into place-specific solutions, and hence the need to conceptualise knowledge mobility as involving plural geographies of flow from multiple cities in the global north and south; second, the way economic geographers can contribute to debates about transitions to sustainability and situated sustainable building design through institutional analyses of the topologies of knowledge mobility, thus widening the relevance of their work to debates about the environment and climate change”